In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed the convictions against Burrell Ellis, the former DeKalb County CEO. Ellis had been found guilty of attempted extortion and perjury stemming from alleged efforts to “shake down” a contractor for the county. The prosecution contended that Ellis was “strong-arming” to obtain contributions to his campaign. It was July 2015 that a jury indicted Ellis. He served 8 months.
In its ruling, the court determined that Superior Court Judge Courtney Johnson did not allow testimony that could have helped clear Ellis. It is now up to DeKalb prosecutors to decide whether to seek a retrial.
Though Ellis’ term as CEO doesn’t expire until December 31, 2016, he will not return to the job of CEO. Michael Thurmond will take over the position, currently held by interim CEO Lee May, on January 1, 2017.